Taliban Overrun An Afghan Urban Center

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KABUL: Taliban launched a major attack on the city of Qala-e-Naw, in the western province of Badghis on Wednesday afternoon. The Taliban overran all the districts and then launched a mass attack on the provincial capital, taking control of the local prison. The central government responded to the attack by dispatching a group of elite troopers to push back the Taliban fighters. 


By attacking an urban center, the Taliban militants are testing the ability of Afghan government, prior to the full withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. The Taliban had stepped up its military campaign against Afghan forces, taking control of one-third of the districts across Afghanistan. The group doesn’t control any urban centers in 34 provinces of Afghanistan.    


The Taliban made rapid territorial gains in the districts of Badghis, before staging a full-blown attack on the provincial capital, Qal-e-Naw. While advancing on the provincial center, the group resorted to their classic approach, took control of the provincial prison, and released more than 200 inmates, according to the provincial council. 


The Taliban took control of the provincial headquarters and the office of the National Directorate of Security (NDS). 


Some of the security officials alongside their personnel are reported to have surrendered to the Taliban last night. The remaining forces in the city continued resistance. Following their takeover of the Qala-e-Naw, the insurgent fighters were seen parading the city in motorcycles in various videos shared by local sources.


In response to the Taliban attack, the central government has dispatched units of elite troopers to Qala-e-Naw, to push the group back and retake full control of the city. 


Through a commando-run counterattack, the Afghan Special Operation Units have retaken the control of the city center in Qala-e-Naw but fighting is still ongoing in the city. 


There is no official word on the casualties of both sides. 


The Afghan Defence Minister, Bismillah Mohammadi, was quick to release a statement, on the fall of Qala-e-Naw, saying the national security forces will be “defending Afghanistan and our compatriots with all their might and resources under all circumstances.”


The assault on Badghis marks the first major strike by the Taliban, taking over an entire province and a provincial capital, following the announcement of the full withdrawal of the U.S-led foreign forces from Afghanistan.